There Will Be Blood

I’ve loved this Academy Award winning film from 2007 since I first saw it. On my first viewing I was struck by how much I related to Daniel Plainview. …It was during the start of my relationship with my ex-husband. And I was hurting very deeply and something about his character’s psychology felt like my own of if I let myself become bitter and cold toward the world. I didn’t and I haven’t.

…My faith in Jesus where He speaks to my soul kindly and empathetically has saved me. He’s understanding not of my sin but of me. He’s not a flippant, cold God. He’s not impatient or condescending. He actually knows and loves us…

But Daniel Plainfield isn’t a man who doesn’t understand how necessary God is. No. …I think instead he’s a man who feels rage. And passion. And rightly so.

Rightly so.

That’s his dirty secret.

He sees through people. But instead of deciding to sacrifice himself he decides to make everyone else pay. Literally and figuratively.

…”There Will Be Blood” is based on a work of literature about a relatively unknown oil man. But, of course, most people assume it’s about the life of John D. Rockefeller. …And it’s interesting. Given the allusions in the music, title and otherwise to “The Shining” I can’t help but think it’s meant to leave one with that impression. The blood from the elevator is in the title. The elite tycoons at the party in the Gold Room in the 1920’s are explained. John D. Rockefeller is made plain…

I’m about to go rewatch the film. I’ll be back with a further review later.

— (Spoiler Alert)

I just finished rewatching “There Will Be Blood.”

…I think that’s one of my favorite films. Although I haven’t been able to bring myself to rewatch it for years. Possibly since 2010 when I first watched it.

…I think the thing that stands out most to me this time, besides the architecture of the house…is the relationship between Daniel and his son. …I’m not sure how it’s supposed to be interpreted but I don’t think his son is adopted. I think his son is his son. …And I think it’s possible that when his son leaves and says that he’s glad he’s nothing like him…he doesn’t mean a word of it. Just like his dad. And they know that. And it’s their way of telling each other just how much they love each other.

When Daniel almost falls down the steps soon after…it’s clear how much he loved his son and misses him.

The fact that Daniel supposedly decides to “wait to tell him that he’s an orphan” until after they become competitors and he’s a happy, married, functioning adult instead of a dependent child or even partner…is some proof. That he cared. And more convincingly based on what’s between the lines, especially the flashback scene right after their last conversation in the film in Daniel’s office and how it mimics that last scene…I think it’s extremely likely Daniel is lying in saying that his son is an orphan. They’re brutally teasing each other as a rite of passage initiated by Daniel. HW is a grown man who’s decided to be a competitor and Daniel wants to set him free of any obligation HW might feel due to his real love for his father. …I might write more on this later. …At any rate, it’s much like the possible other biggest lie Daniel tells about his hatred for Christianity.

Daniel kills the genuine false prophet Eli because Eli is an actual false prophet. Just like Daniel’s false brother who used his real dead brother’s diary (and brought Daniel to tears). …Intriguingly, a diary his son (HW) analyzed that prompted him to try to burn down everything. Possibly because his son could see his father’s impending horrible fate and deep pain (including his own traumatic medical issue) and couldn’t stand it. …And Daniel Plainfield likely knew that eventually and intuitively guessed at it initially. He knew his son was as cutthroat as him and yet he also knew how much his son genuinely loved him. “You’ve got none of me in you.” was code between them. Words mattered but some things are beyond mere words and gestures.

Try explaining that kind of familial love to a narcissistic pedophile though. They’re tragically too deaf and dumb to understand. …And the fact that our culture is too dumb and deaf enough to miss the beauty of the parental and son innocence…is one of the biggest reasons why I get enraged by our culture these days. The power of the love between a father and son shouldn’t be so mysterious. Powerful love that isn’t at all sexual should be understood and instantly relatable for all humans…

…And who is Daniel Plainfield really symbolic of? God the Father? Who destroys Satan in the end. “It is finished.” “I’m finished!”

It’s a genius film.

And yet…as supernatural as the film is…it’s about humans and Earth. Mortal shells.

I can’t recommend a film more. Especially for people who don’t understand how the universe paradoxically is made of mud…and how mud can be used symbolically and artistically…but how they as a living human are not literal mud. How everything could be sexual in the universe as Peter Kreeft describes it…and yet…rape is still rape. How a father and son can be part of the Holy Trinity and yet not be sexually connected.